Exporting under the dairy quota programme

The Dominican Republic, the European Union, Japan, and the United States of America are part of the dairy quota programme. If you're going to export to these countries, it's important to understand the dairy products you'll be able to export – and the requirements you'll need to meet.

What you need to know

The Dominican Republic, the European Union, Japan, and the United States of America are known as the designated markets. They have quotas in place that govern how much of certain dairy products will receive beneficial export rates. If you want to export dairy products to the designated markets, you'll need to do so under the dairy quota programme. There are several steps to follow before you can export a product:

  • be a registered dairy exporter
  • hold an export licence for the designated market
  • hold an approved Quota Compliance Programme (QCP) for the export of dairy quota product
  • receive export approval for each consignment
  • ensure you meet the import requirements of the designated market.

The designated markets

The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) 2001 (Schedule 5A) lists the markets under the programme.

The table below shows these markets, the dairy products, the total quota allocation, and the quota year.

Designated marketProductTotal quota allocationQuota year

Dominican Republic

Milk powder

4,800,000 kilograms

1 January to 31 December

European Union (EU)


74,693,000 kilograms

1 January to 31 December

European Union (EU)

Cheddar cheese

7,000,000 kilograms

1 January to 31 December

European Union (EU)

Cheese for processing

4,000,000 kilograms

1 January to 31 December


Low fat cheese

1,000,000 kilograms

1 January to 31 December


Not specifically provided for (NSPF) cheese

6,506,528 kilograms

1 January to 31 December


American type cheese


1 January to 31 December


Cheddar cheese

5,403,532 kilograms

1 January to 31 December


Prepared edible fat

11,550,000 kilograms

1 April to 31 March in the following year

Find out more

How to export to designated markets

Expand All
Step 1: Apply for an export licence

How we allocate export licences, what you'll need to do, and the costs involved.

An export licence is also known as an allocation of quota, and you'll need a licence before you can export certain dairy products to the designated markets. We allocate export licences between August and September of each year during an allocation round.

To take part in the allocation round and receive a licence, there are a few steps you'll need to follow.

Make sure you're registered as an exporter

Only registered animal product exporters can apply for an export licence. Make sure you're registered by following the instructions.

Take part in the allocation round

We'll call for submissions to take part in the export licence allocation round in August of each year. We do this in the August prior to the start of the next quota year to ensure you've got time to ship product to the designated markets.

If you're eligible, we'll allocate export licences based on the percentage of total milk solids you've collected from dairy farmers in the most recent season, or an average of the 2 or 3 most recent seasons – whichever is the highest.

You'll receive an export licence for a particular market if your share in that market equates to 20 tonnes or more of product to the market for the quota year. If it's less, we'll re-allocate it among the other eligible participants.

Collect and submit your milk solids data as a statutory declaration

To be eligible to receive a licence, you'll need to have collected and acquired legal title in at least 0.1% of total milk solids collected from dairy farmers in New Zealand.

You need to submit this data to us in the form of a statutory declaration. If you're not sure whether you've collected enough milk solids to receive a licence, you can still submit your data by statutory declaration for consideration.

Processors supply us with the latest season's data, with the option of providing the previous season, or previous 2 season's data, and MPI determines which average to use.

You must have the declaration signed by either the chief executive or a director of your company. A Justice of the Peace or a solicitor must also witness and sign this declaration.

Once you've made your statutory declaration, email it to dairy.quota@mpi.govt.nz

Or post it to:

Attention: Animal Products
Dairy Quota Allocation and Transfers
MPI Food Regulation
PO Box 2526

The costs of export licences

The Quota Management System and Quota Management Register handle dairy quota export approvals and record who currently holds export licences.

Export licence holders are invoiced quarterly for the costs of running these systems, in proportion to the tonnes they're allocated under the export licence. The notice below sets the amount.

Dairy Export Quota Products Notice - Amount to recover for year [PDF, 190 KB]

Transferring export licences

If you hold an export licence, you may be able to transfer it to another eligible person under regulations associated with the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act.

You and the transferee are responsible for working out the commercial terms of the transfer – government agencies aren't involved. Note that you will need to register the transfer with MPI.

You can transfer any amount of a licence greater than 20 tonnes in a single transaction. You can only transfer parts of the licence that haven't been used.

Transfers become effective from the date when MPI notifies the transferor and transferee.

Registering the transfer of export licences

Both the transferor and the transferee will need to apply to the chief executive of MPI for registration of the transfer on the register of export licence holders. This will need to be put through in writing.

Note that for each transfer concerning a different designated market and quota year, we'll require a separate application.

Find out what you need for a transfer

If you're planning a transfer, then you'll need to submit an application with the following information:

  • the full name, address and contact details of both yourself and the transferee (including a contact name, phone number, fax number and email address)
  • the designated market and the product
  • the volume of quota exports
  • the period for which the amount of export licence to be transferred is valid (the quota year for which it is valid and, in the case of butter to the EU, the sub-period of a quota year for which it is valid)
  • the date the export licence was first allocated or registered to the transferor.

Transferring an export licence – Application form [PDF, 64 KB]

Guidance document: Dairy export quota products [PDF, 719 KB]

Step 2: Get a Quota Compliance Programme (QCP)
Getting a QCP, the QCP approval process, and meeting the requirements.

Once you've got approval to export to a designated market, you'll need to develop a Quota Compliance Programme (QCP) and get it approved.

A QCP is a document designed to ensure a dairy quota product meets the access requirements of a designated market. It's your responsibility to put it together, and make sure it outlines the various manufacturing, storage, testing, and export procedures.

As an exporter, you can have a QCP for both manufacturing and exporting. Or, you can have a QCP for exporting and source dairy products from a manufacturer with a QCP.

Make sure your QCP meets the requirements

You need to develop your QCP document to meet the requirements of the Animal Products (Regulated Control Scheme – Dairy Export Quota Products) Regulations 2008, as well as the Animal Products Notice: Regulated Control Scheme – Dairy Export Products 2015.

Your QCP will need to detail how you meet requirements of the Regulations and Notice for the particular designated market.


Fill out the validation sheet

Once you've developed your QCP, use the validation sheet to ensure you've ticked all the right boxes. This is important, as we'll audit your QCP prior to approval.

QCP validation sheet [DOC, 196 KB]

Get your QCP approved

When you've developed your QCP and checked it against the QCP validation sheet, you're ready to send it to MPI.

Email it to approvals@mpi.govt.nz and QMSCertificationand.ExportApproval@mpi.govt.nz

AP52 - Application form for submitting QCP for approval [PDF, 1 MB]

Step 3: Apply for export approval
Obtaining export approval from MPI using the QMS and the QMR.

Obtain export approval

Once you've got an export licence and a QCP, you'll need to apply for export approval from MPI before the consignment leaves New Zealand. This is commonly issued as a certificate or authorisation.

You apply using the web-based Quota Management System (QMS). To get access to QMS, email eCert.Admin@mpi.govt.nz

When applying for access, ask for the web link and user access. Each user needs to have their own log in.

When you apply for export approval, we'll process the request in the QMS. If you're successful, we'll print the necessary certificates. We also use the QMS to manage dairy industry quota.

When applying, you'll need to provide basic dairy quota product information, as well as information about the exporter. You can provide these details using the Dairy quota product specification application form.

Dairy quota product specification application form [PDF, 48 KB]

If approved, you'll receive an export approval, which is determined by the requirements of the designated market. For example, quota butter going to the EU would require an IMA 1 certificate, while cheese going to the USA would require authorisation issued online within the QMS.

Make a Summary of Records declaration

You'll also need to supply a Summary of Records declaration. We need one of these declarations for every consignment where you seek export approval.

View Summary of Records templates [PDF, 43 KB]

When you've filled out the application form and provided a Summary of Records declaration, email it to QMSCertificationand.ExportApproval@mpi.govt.nz

Understanding the Quota Management Register (QMR)

Alongside the QMS, we also maintain a Quota Management Register. We use the QMR to manage dairy product information and volumes of export licencing.

Some of the information includes:

  • quota periods
  • export licence holders and allocations
  • remaining volumes of export licence
  • approved product specifications for dairy product.
Step 4: How you know you're ready to export
Check you've met the requirements.

You're ready to export when you have all of the required licences, documents and approvals.

Make sure you've:

Other requirements

Finally, the importing country authorities and New Zealand authorities may require any or all of the following:

  • a health or sanitary certificate
  • a country of origin certificate
  • a valid import licence
  • a valid customs export entry.

For more information, refer to the Steps to exporting page.

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